Reformation 500 WEEK 39 Bloody Mary
“Princess Mary, the only surviving child of Henry VIII and [his first wife] Catherine of Aragon, was dedicated in her allegiance to the Catholic Church and Catholic Spain, the birthplace of her mother” (DeMar, Reformation, 227). Mary remembered what happened to her and her mother back in 1533. When Archbishop Cranmer had declared her mother’s marriage to Henry unlawful so Henry could wed Anne Boleyn, Mary was declared illegitimate and removed from the line of succession to the throne. In 1544, Henry reinstated Mary to the line of succession behind her half-brother, Edward, born to Henry’s third wife Jane Seymour in 1537.
Before Edward VI died in 1553, knowing full well that after his death Mary would restore Catholicism in England, he devised a complicated scheme to prevent her from taking the throne. He named his Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey his success-or. After Edward died, Jane was proclaimed queen of England on July 10, 1553. Jane’s father-in-law, the Duke of Northumberland, set out with forces to capture Mary, but before he could do so she raised her own army and rallied other support-ers, prompting the royal government to switch its allegiance from Jane and declare Mary the legitimate queen. Jane, who had reigned for just nine days, was imprison-ed with her husband in the Tower of London, and Northumberland was executed. Later, Jane and her husband were tried, found guilty, and executed as traitors.
Queen Mary worked to return England to Catholicism, undoing the reforms made by Edward. She brought the Church of England back under the authority of the pope, deposed Protestant bishops, and restored traditional Roman Catholic worship. In 1554, she married King Philip of Spain, “the most deadly foe of Protest-antism in all Europe. Many English Protestants fled abroad: most found refuge in Germany and Switzerland [John Knox fled to Geneva]. Protestants who stayed behind in England were now arrested and tried for heresy” (Needham, 2000 Years, 3:393).
“The most notable victims of Mary’s persecution were the two bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. As the flames curled around their bodies Latimer spoke courage and comfort to his fellow martyr: ‘This day we shall light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.’” (Kuiper’s History, 226). Mary’s next victim was Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, who was promptly excommunicated. Even though Cranmer weakened and signed a denial of the Protestant faith, Mary decided to make an example of him and burn him anyway. But just before he was to die on March 21, 1556, he stunned everyone by renouncing his denial and reaffirming his Protestant faith. As the flames rose around him at the stake, the old archbishop in dramatic fashion held out the hand which had signed the denial, “so that it was the first part of his body to be burnt away” (Needham, 3:394).
Before she died in 1558, Mary had more than 270 Protestants burned at the stake, earning her the name “Bloody Mary,” given to her by John Foxe (1516-1587) in his famous Book of Martyrs. Foxe hoped the church would never forget. At least the Anglican prayer book did not forget: “Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, after the examples of thy servants Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer; that we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace.”
NOTE: These Posts were written and designed as bulletin inserts by Pastor David Fagrey of the Grace Reformed Church of Rapid City, SD .
Link to this blog entry as a bulletin insert: Reformation 500 History: Bloody Mary
For a double-sided PDF for easy printing: Reformation 500 Week 39
|Official Seal of the RCUS|
This is the seal of the Reformed Church of the United States (RCUS). As you can see its history goes back to 1748, when the RCUS began. We celebrate with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we praise God for what is probably the most amazing spiritual revival in the history of the world.